AnimeNEXT 2019: Guest MAPPA


MAPPA is a Japanese animation studio that was founded in 2011 by Film Producer Masao Maruyama. MAPPA is an acronym for Maruyama Animation Produce Project Association. MAPPA has produced many projects like Yuri on Ice!, Kakegurui and Idolish 7 just to say a few. The studio has been very successful with past projects and the upcoming projects will be an exciting part of seeing the growth of the animation studio.

Coming to AnimeNEXT this weekend is just a few of the producers that work with MAPPA. The guests are Hiroko Utsumi, Akemi Hayashi, Ayumi Yamada, Erika Ando, and Andrew Upton. These are a very talented group of people we’ll be able to meet this weekend and gain knowledge from. I’m going to take a guess that they will host a panel to showcase some upcoming projects as well as talk about older projects.


I’m looking forward to meeting these amazingly talented people contributed to MAPPA’s success. I have many of these series on my watchlist as well as some I’ve seen many times over. Below is a brief description of what each producer worked on to give you an idea.


Hiroko Utsumi has been involved in the production of much famous anime, most notably The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (2010; Key Animator and Episode Director), K-On! Movie (2011; Key Animator and Unit Director), Free! (2013; Series Director, Storyboard Artist, and Episode Director), Free! -Eternal Summer- (2014; Series Director, Storyboard Artist, and Episode Director), and My Hero Academia (2nd Season) (2017; Storyboard Artist and Episode Director). Most recently she directed the hit new series BANANA FISH as well as acting as a Storyboard Artist, and Episode Director.

Since 1996, Akemi Hayashi has been involved in numerous major productions as a supervising animation director and character designer. Some of her most well-known works are Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997; Animation Director), Fruits Basket (2001; Character Designer and Supervising Animation Director), Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (2012; Animation Director), and Doukyusei (2016; Character Designer, Storyboard Artist, and, Supervising Animation Director). On BANANA FISH, she played major roles as Character designer and Supervising Animation Director.



Ayumi Yamada has played key roles in the production of numerous hit series, most notably Kids on the Slope (2012; Animation Director), Attack on Titan (2013; Main Animator), Terror in Resonance (2014; Animation Director), Seraph of the End (2015; Sub-character Designer and Supervising Animation Director), Mob Psycho 100 (2016; Animation Director), and Attack on Titan (2nd Season) (2017; Sub-character Designer and Supervising Animation Director). On BANANA FISH she served as a Supervising Animation Director.

works_yurioniceAfter working on Yuri!!! on ICE (2016; Production Assistant) and Kakegurui (2017; Setting Producer), Ando supported the production of BANANA FISH(2018) as the Setting Producer. As hundreds of people are involved in the creation of an animated series, establishing a fixed setting is integral to the production. This setting becomes the common language with which animation studios standardize the visualization of characters, backgrounds, and props and maintain overall quality. As the setting producer, it was Ando’s job to gather reference materials and to manage the thousands of settings so that the production runs smoothly and efficiently.

Andrew Upton joined MAPPA in 2016 where he handles Pre-production and Planning as well as spearheading International Development. A graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Upton holds degrees in Asian Languages and Cultures and History. He also spent two years at Keio University’s Japanese Language Program. Since joining MAPPA, Upton has been involved behind the scenes on numerous titles including, Garo Vanishing LineKakeguruiBanana FishZombie Land Saga, and Dororo.




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